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Embracing the Chaos

When we picture a proactive approach to player development, many people see structure and methodical organisation as a sign of effectiveness. Stuart English, Birmingham City's Assistant Academy Manager, outlines the importance of allowing players to take initiative and solve problems on their own if they are going to become truly unique and creative on the field.


Chaos is the monster we seek to contain within our structured lives. Chaos is adversity in ordered environments and can be defined in the dictionary as: ‘complete disorder and confusion’.

How then can this be welcomed into our lives, our work and, of course, our training? As coaches we love to see players acknowledging and putting into practice the points we discuss with them during training sessions. We love it when success is achieved and when carefully planned sessions depict an organised and aesthetically pleasing sight. Yet I question whether this should indeed be the ideal outcome. I believe successful player development isn’t simply the successful execution of the coach’s ideas and tactics.

We risk simply creating machines that are programmed to follow and execute...

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